Saturday, August 7, 2010

Denali Bushwhacking

An excerpt from my Journal:

July 30, 2010

"Woo Hoo! Freedom! I got to take two days off work this week to go backpacking in Denali National Park with my two college friends, Bonnie and Austin. I'm SO glad this worked out. We are on Day 2 of a 4 day, 3 night trail-less hike along the Savage River and Jenny Creek. None of us have ever done an entire backpacking trip by bushwhacking so its a bit of an intimidating experience, especially in such intense bear and moose country. We started off with quite the struggle, plowing through painful brush up to our hips. We were told there might be an old wagon road to follow but our first few attempts to find it were futile. Following a few game trails that would start and stop rather abruptly, we finally found the wagon road. What a relief! We finally were able to make some progress through the valley. After a full day of driving to the park, planning our trip, and bushwhacking for a number of hours, we were quite exhausted come 8 pm. I'm carrying the heaviest pack I've ever carried due to not sharing my tent with anyone, having a bear canister and carrying food for 4 days, my longest trip yet. My hip bones are bruised and my legs burn after just a few inclined stip, but I love it. I love this experience, being outdoors, exploring new places, spending time with great friends I haven't seen in a long time. Sure we are tired, sure our bodies ache, and sure we are constantly on guard for bears and other wildlife, but this experience is amazing. I love the mountains, I love the adventure, I love working through my fears. I wish everyone could experience the wilderness in sch breathtaking ways." 

The rest of the trip was equally as rewarding. We had fantastic weather and didn't see even one drop of rain the whole 4 days. We had a great viewing across the valley of a momma grizzly and her cub that luckily ran away after getting a good look at us from her hind legs. We successfully navigated our way down the Savage River Valley, over a ridge, and back to the road through the Jenny Creek Valley. It was an awesome four days of beautiful scenery and lots of laughs. 
Searching for the Wagon Trail through the thick brush. 
Enjoying the beauty!

Bonnie and I eating lunch in front of some beautiful ridges! 

Sunset beginning at 11 pm.

WOO HOO! We crossed the ridge into the second valley! 

Our home for the 3rd night.